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    The writer gets better with every line and paragraph. Please read and ponder; it might even be good for you.
    Dawn, Opinion, October 15, 2001

    Playing with fire

    By Khalid Hasan

    On any given day, you may go through the pages of any Urdu newspaper published in Pakistan and it is unlikely you will come across many voices of moderation. The hysteria that you see in the streets today
    has been nurtured by what you read in print here. The language is belligerent and the appeal is directed at our most primeval

    A good deal of the intellectual and ideological confusion that grips the nation today is largely the work of these holy warriors who see themselves as crusaders in print. They thunder forth as the defenders of a faith which they claim is under challenge from the infidels, not
    realizing that the course they advocate leads to the abyss. Their understanding of Islam is superficial and sentimental.

    If there are any balanced and liberal voices in the Urdu press, they are few and far between. One such is that of the former left-wing student leader Raja Anwar who writes for an Islamabad daily, a lone
    advocate of what increasingly looks like a lost cause. Just before the US military action got underway in Afghanistan, he wrote a piece that deserves a wider readership.

    The reaction he received was "extreme", physical threats included. The truth is that if we are to be saved from the zealots who are urging that Pakistan go down the tubes with the Taliban, we need to turn away from these siren voices and take stock of our situation. What follows is a somewhat shortened version in translation of what
    Anwar wrote.

    "In 1991, after invading Kuwait, Saddam Hussein challenged America. Our Punjabi intellectuals, lost in the wilderness of the past, immediately conferred the title of Salahuddin Ayyubi on him. Our
    intellectually paralytic media lost no time in coming with the 'research' finding that Saddam was born in the same village as
    the great Islamic warrior. In the days that followed, our newspaper columns turned into battlefields where new Crusades were fought. The result of that war was the utter destruction of Iraq and the permanent military presence of American troops in Arab lands.

    "Whosoever attacked the World Trade Centre on the morning of September 11 not only turned thousands of living human beings into ashes but threw a noose around every Islamic country, including
    Pakistan, that will only get tighter with every attempt to move in the other direction. Only after the dust has settled, will we know what we lost on that fateful morning. One thing however is clear. The
    worst victims of this event are the nations of Islam. That notwithstanding, some Punjabi intellectuals, with no interest
    whatsoever in facts, are raring to go like frenzied bulls.

    "They are not even aware that our country is already in the greatest jeopardy. They are busy dressing up Islam in an attire that has no relationship to history or Islamic teachings. A friend in London has sent me an 'Edict' from someone named Bilal which says that all countries that were once ruled by Muslims continue to belong to them.
    It is, therefore, our birthright not only to occupy those lands but also to enslave their inhabitants.

    "In other words, this gentleman, safely ensconced in London, has transferred the overlordship of all lands once ruled by Arabs, Berbers, Ottomans and Tartars to the gallants of Punjab. I suppose it
    is also now incumbent upon us to reconquer parts of the Balkans and
    Russia. It will also be our duty to reclaim all areas in old Cathay right up to the "dust of Kashgar". As for Spain, victory is at hand.

    "As I write, twenty to twenty-five thousand Punjabi eagles of the 'shaheen' variety are waiting to gain political asylum in Spain,
    having already taken care to burn their boats. The day this advance guard gets hold of the right papers, Spain will be ours. However, the reconquest of India may pose certain difficulties as the last time it
    was taken by a Muslim was when Babar defeated Ibrahim Lodhi, also a Muslim. So who will take it this time? Babar's descendents or Lodhi's?

    "Who will explain to Bilal that Islam brought a message of peace, justice and equality for mankind that springs forth from the Quran?
    How does our being Muslim also oblige us to swear allegiance to the history of Berbers, Khiljis, Mongols, Turks, Uzbeks, Ghaznavis and Tajiks? They fought their wars mostly against each other. How have
    they become Islam's wars? And how do the areas that kept changing hands among them become our patrimony?

    "The history of Muslim countries proves that Islam was damaged less by Jews, Christians and Hindus than by inter-Muslim wars for power and pelf. Is there a count available of the Iranians who lost their
    lives during Reza Shah's White Revolution of 1952 and Ayatollah Khomenei's Islamic Revolution of 1979? From Abdel Karim Kassem to Saddam Hussein, every Iraqi ruler murdered hundreds of thousands of
    Kurds, Sunnis and Shias. They were all Muslims. More than one million
    innocent Muslims lost their lives in the Iran-Iraq war while we continued to parade around with Saddam and Khomeni's pictures, raising slogans.

    "In 1966, Suharto took the presidential palace over the fallen bodies of 250,000 Indonesian Muslims, a number far higher than those who died fighting for the country's freedom. The number of Palestinians killed by King Hussain in September 1970 was higher than the number of those who have been killed by Israelis.

    "Muslims killed in Pakistan at the hands of our Muslim police, or in terrorist attacks in Karachi or during sectarian bloodbaths elsewhere is much higher than the number of those killed in 1971 in East Pakistan. Afghanistan has been a virtual battlefield over the last twenty years. Afghan leaders who keep declaring each another outside
    Islam's pale are guilty of the destruction of millions of Muslim

    "In 1982, Hafiz Al-Asad killed 10,000 Sunni men, women and children. Not satisfied with that, he levelled their city of Hama to the ground. And yet all his life, he kept calling for war against Israel.

    "More Muslims have died in Algeria in the last decade than fell in the revolutionary war against France. Muslims massacred on the altar of power in Bosnia, Chechnya, Palestine and Kashmir outnumber those
    who died there fighting for their freedom.

    "We are Pakistanis. The day this earth which we find under our feet today is no longer there, no Muslim country will offer us refuge. If you do not believe this, all you have to do is to visit any Arab country and you will find that despite our being Muslims, no Arab country grants us citizenship or equal rights. In no Arab country can
    we construct a home or even open a barbershop, though we may have
    resided there for thirty years.

    "There are more than fifty Muslim countries in the world. They all have their own armies, their own cultures, their own problems and their own resources. Some are rich; others are poor like us. Our
    great burden is our debt. Is there a Muslim country that is willing to help us with this load? If the answer is no, then please for God's sake, do not make this country the last refuge of every fugitive from law. Do not make it an experimental laboratory for Mullahism. Do not turn it into a battling ground of sectarianism.

    "Someone should ask these Hamid Guls, Nasim Begs and Qazi Hussain Ahmeds just one question. Where is to be found the 'Ummah' that you are so keen to lead?

    "Or is it only to be found in Punjab where so deep is religious hatred today that Shia and Sunni cannot live under the same roof and Wahabis and Baralevis cannot pray in the same mosque.

    "The Gujjars, Jats, Arains and Rajputs no longer want to live in the same village. Or will we find that Ummah in the desert of Sindh where every fourth or fifth Mohajir, Sindhi, Pathan and Punjabi is out to
    cut the next man's throat? Or is that Ummah to be found in the Frontier and Balochistan where loyalties stop at tribal territorial limits?

    Who is going to unite the Ummah that despite its belief in one God,
    one Prophet (peace by upon him) and one Book is divided into 72 sects?
    "For God's sake, have mercy on this land and its people. Instead of placing guns in its children's hands, arm them with
    science and technology.

    Instead of slashing one another's throat, unburden the nation of its crippling debt. Instead of dreaming dreams of the conquest of Russia, Spain and Kashgar, show us a way which will make this Pakistan of ours strong and prosperous. There are fires burning all around us
    today. How long will we keep our head buried in the sands of the past so as not to face reality? Those who are playing with fire to attain power, may end up being consumed by it. And they may take the country with them."

    Hey KHALID HASSAN is my fathers friend

    • “na maiN momin vich masiitaaN, na maiN muusaa, na fir'aun!”

    [This message has been edited by Ali_R (edited October 15, 2001).]
    Ain't new ta this....HOMEINVASION('93)


      I must say these facts are facts. But what I don't agree on is or what he forgot to mention is that most of these wars were instigated by...........

      • “na maiN momin vich masiitaaN, na maiN muusaa, na fir'aun!”
      Ain't new ta this....HOMEINVASION('93)


        Is that right, Ali_R?
        I would love to know how many threats he received?


          Well, his whole basis of the argument is completely wrong. Not all Muslims who call for Islam see the taleban state an example of Islam.

          Also he generalises too much.

          There isn't a single Islamic state in the world right now so his blame on Indonesia etc should remain a blame on the country and its leader.

          Then he goes on to blame the incompetence of our leaders with the debt as a blame on Islam.

          THe khaleef adopts an opinion which resolves the disputes. After that if the barelvis and wahabis or sunni and shias still follow their own opinion after the khaleef has chosen an opinion for them then the state will come down heavy on them.

          Again a problem stemming from nationalism i.e gujjar , jat etc not Islam. These will no longer exist nor hold any importance under Islam.

          The reality is he is blaming the incompetence of every leader we have had who have not implemented Islam who have always seen lining their own pockets their number one objective in coming to power, on Islam.

          Whose actions led to this crippling debt was it the public or the leader?

          Who has control over the education system the leader or the public?

          Who's going to say anything if pakistan defaults on the loans?

          Is it Islam that is stopping the govt from encouraging education for all and not just for the rich?

          Is it Islam that stops the govt from doing nothing to stop the disgusting act of honour killings?

          Is it Islam that says allow foreigners even enemies ( pipeline from Iran thru Pak to India) from benefiting more from the country's natural resources and then complain about the struggle of repaying debt?

          Is it Islam that allows the kuffar to attack our brother and sisters in Afghanistan without any proof?

          Neither does he understand the problem and neither does he offer a solution.

          Unless we get rid of our baseless belief in a system which does nothing for us and implement Islam completely with the khilafah state this situation will not change.


            A Time for Introspection

            by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

            On September 11th our lives changed forever. We witnessed an act of aggression that in many ways does not have a parallel in past or present times. There are several elements that make this act unique, from the use of civilian planes as weapons of mass destruction to the attack on the most widely recognised skyscrapers in the world. Nor have we ever witnessed the terrible indictment of Islam as having a part to play in such a heinous crime, writes Hamza Yusuf.

            Muslims were seen rejoicing in some parts of the world in a display of what can only be called shamaatatul 'aadai', which is rejoicing at the calamities of ones’ enemies. This is something explicitly prohibited in Islam and was never practiced by the Prophet of Mercy, upon him be prayers and peace. We have seen images since of American flags burning to further arouse the wrath of a nation filled with grief, confusion and anger. Again, Islam prohibits the burning of flags according to the explicit verse, “Do not curse [the idols] of those who call on other than Allah, thus causing them to curse Allah out of animosity [toward you] and without knowledge.” This verse prohibits even the cursing of false gods because of the consequences. We have also seen image after image of Muslims with beards and turbans, who by all outward means look religious and pious - but are they really?

            Unfortunately, the West does not know what every Muslim scholar knows; that the worst enemies of Islam are from within. The worst of these are the khawaarij who delude others by the deeply dyed religious exterior that they project. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said about them, “When you see them pray you will consider your own prayers insignificant. They recite the Quran but it does not exceed the limits of their throat.” In other words, they don’t understand the true meanings. The outward religious appearance and character of the khawaarij deluded thousands in the past, and continues to delude people today. The Muslims should be aware that despite the khawaarij adherence to certain aspects of Islam, they are extremists of the worst type.

            Our Prophet said, peace be upon him, “Beware of extremism in your religion.” Islam is the middle way between excess and neglect. Zealots are a plague upon religion. These extremists come in two types. The first is a reactionary extremist who falls far right of a centre-point. Reactionary extremists do not want any pluralism; they view the world in melodramatic, black and white, good and evil terms. They are good and anyone who opposes them is evil. From among the Muslims these are people who ‘excommunicate’ any Muslim who fails to share their interpretations of the Quran. They use takfir and character assassination as a tool for marginalising any criticism directed at them. They are used often by the Western media in order to scare simple people and cause them to believe that Muslims are insane. Unfortunately, our communities provide them with much fuel to fire their incendiary flames.

            The second group are radical extremists, who while they are almost identical with the former group, differ in that they will use violence to further their cause. They are actually worse than the first. They believe like every nefarious secret society before them that ‘the end justifies the means.’ They see any act as acceptable if it will further their ‘cause.’ This is blatantly anti-Islamic for a number of reasons.

            Firstly, Islam’s means must reflect its noble ends. Any means that does not embody the core truths and ethics of Islam is not from Islam and thus denounced as aberration. Secondly, Islam is not a secret society of conspirators who no one knows what they are planning. Islam declares openly its aims and objectives and these are recognised by good people everywhere as pure and congruent with their own wisdom and traditions. In the case of many of these extremists even the non-Muslims recognise that no religion of any weight could sanction the taking of innocent lives. The Quran says that the Torah and the Gospel have guidance and light and that the Quran came to fulfil these prior dispensations. Good Christians and Jews who believe in God and live ethically upright lives have no frame of reference for such acts, so how could these acts be from Islam, which confirms what has come before it?

            Thirdly, they are invariably people who have never taken a true spiritual path to God and nor have they studied the humanities. I can almost guarantee that you will not find a scholar of poetry among the whole vile lot of these people. They have no true knowledge of Arabian culture, which is centred in the idea of futuwwa; a word akin to the western word chivalry. The terrorists posing as journalists who killed Ahmad Shah Masuud were cowards of the worst type. Killing themselves was not bravery but stupidity, but killing one’s enemy in such a way is the worst form of treachery and the Arabs have many poems denouncing such type of people.

            Our real situation is this: we Muslims have lost theologically sound understanding of our teaching. Islam has been hijacked by a discourse of anger and the rhetoric of rage. We have allowed for too long our mimbars to become bully pulpits in which people with often recognisable psychopathology use anger - a very powerful emotion - to rile Muslims up, only to leave them feeling bitter and spiteful towards people who in the most part are completely unaware of the conditions in the Muslim world, or the oppressive assaults of some Western countries on Muslim peoples. We have lost our bearings because we have lost our theology. We have almost no theologians in the entire Muslim world. The study of kalaam, once the hallmark of our intellectual tradition, has been reduced to memorizing 144 lines of al-Jawhara and a good commentary to study it, at best.

            The reality is we are an Umma that no longer realises that Allah is the power behind all power; that it is Allah who subjugates one people to another; that He gives dominion to whom He pleases and He takes it away from whom He pleases. Our understanding of tawhid has fallen into such disarray that we can no longer introspect when afflictions befall us and then wonder in amazement at why the Americans seem incapable of introspection. Indeed, I personally attended a memorial service in San Francisco with over 30,000 people and the Reverend Amos Brown said in no uncertain terms that America must ask herself what she has done either wittingly or unwittingly to incur the wrath and hate of people around the world. Muslims on the other hand, generally prefer to attack the West as the sole reason for their problems when the truth is we are bankrupt as a religious community and our spiritual bankruptcy has led to our inability to even deliver the message of Islam to Westerners in a time when they were giving us platforms to do so.

            It is ironic that the Western media while producing many vile programs on Islam has also produced and aired material of the highest quality with a high level of accuracy only to be vilified by Muslims because it was not good enough. Where is our media? Where are our spokespeople? Where are our scholars? Where are our literary figures? The truth is we don’t have any - and so instead of looking inward and asking painful questions such as why we don’t have such things and such people, we take the simple way out by attacking people whom Allah tells us will do mean things, say bad things and plot against us. And always when we are warned we are told to be patient, to work for the good, to trust in Allah, to return to Allah, to implement our deen.

            Conspiracy or not, we are to blame for the terrible backlash against Muslims. The simple reason is that when a crazy Christian does something terrible, everyone in the West knows it is the actions of a mad man because they have some knowledge of the core beliefs and ethics of Christianity. When a mad Muslim does something evil or foolish they assume it is from the religion of Islam, not because they hate us but because they have never been told by a Muslim what the teachings of Islam are all about.


              Faceup / Taj2001 - thanks for posting two excellent articles. Its so reassuring to see reasoned arguement above all the emotional garb.

              Scarface - you miss the whole point. Nobody's attacking Islam - only our conduct as human beings. Self critique is a natural requirement for progress and development.


                You're welcome.

                May Allah save our beloved Pakistan from these evil and ignorant Mullahs!

                I have been very disapointed by the posts of some supposedly educated Muslims on this forum. Surely their is a silent majority here to?


                  Taj/Face Up
                  Nice article for introspection. I really should admire the guts of the writer.
                  What ever articles I have read (about Islam and Pakistan), I have found a stereotype rhetoric in Pakistan's newspapers. Good article, it really helps outsiders to see the minority sane voices in pakistani literary circles.


                    Originally posted by faceup:
                    Is that right, Ali_R?
                    I would love to know how many threats he received?
                    These are facts and I wouldn't deny them. People used to deny them, but as I have said you can hide from truth, but can't escape.
                    I mostly try to defend what is wrong.
                    Even if it is against my nation or my race.

                    Yes Khalid Hasan lived in AUSTRIA for over 4 years. He was a strict PPP supporter. My father and he were very good friends and still they are. He lives in the States now. And as you said that guy has been threaten his whole life. Pakistani Gov. dislikes him and so do the people. Unfortunately this is the hard truth.

                    I have read many many articles and listened to many many interviews. I have to say he is a very clear and straight foward person. But what he does not criticize is America. That is his weak point.

                    All in all that article is based upon reality and reality bites!

                    • “na maiN momin vich masiitaaN, na maiN muusaa, na fir'aun!”
                    Ain't new ta this....HOMEINVASION('93)


                      Originally posted by Victory:
                      What ever articles I have read (about Islam and Pakistan), I have found a stereotype rhetoric in Pakistan's newspapers. Good article, it really helps outsiders to see the minority sane voices in pakistani literary circles.
                      This is not true. Don't stereotype yourself. Rediff and Co are even worse. Besides this they really su-k.

                      • “na maiN momin vich masiitaaN, na maiN muusaa, na fir'aun!”
                      Ain't new ta this....HOMEINVASION('93)



                        I agree, truth hurts but even worse is our inability to confront it. We would rather hide and let "Allah take care of it". Thanks for really expressing yourself.

                        RE: Hamza Yusuf
                        Some Maliki Shaykhs have already issued a Fatwa on Hamza Yusuf Hanson(he is an American convert). It is rather lengthy but the gist is -
                        What Hamza Yusuf says is UnIslamic!
                        It's my way, everyrthing & everybody else is UnIslamic!

                        [This message has been edited by faceup (edited October 16, 2001).]



                          I agree, truth hurts but even worse is our inability to confront it. We would rather hide and let "Allah take care of it". Thanks for really expressing yourself.

                          ALLAH (swt) is the only one who cares about us. The world is selfish but not ALLAH (swt)

                          Khuda hafiz

                          • “na maiN momin vich masiitaaN, na maiN muusaa, na fir'aun!”
                          Ain't new ta this....HOMEINVASION('93)


                            Faceup / Taj, thank you for the hard hitting articles. Even if one may not agree with everything in them one MUST consider the points raised seriously and think what each one has done individually to rectify this abysmal situation.


                              One of the supposedly rational voices above, states that we should seek guidance from christians and jews. He says freedoms and pluralism are ideals to be sought after. He goes to church to pray with christian and jews. He has become the advisor to George Bush. He says that we have a lot to learn from the west.
                              He accepts the name of Sheikh and talks about how all muslims are ignorant (generaly).
                              Some advice to him but mainly to yourselves, this advice can be interpreted by yourselves because it is ayat of Quran and Hadeeth of the Prophet, Mohammed (saw)
                              He (saw) came and saw Umar (ra) reading from Torah.He said"Did i not bring it pure and clean, if Musa (AS) was here today he would have no choice but to follow me."
                              Surah Baqarah 120
                              The jews and the christians will never be happy with you until you follow their millah(belief).Say the guidance of Allah that is the (true) guidance. And if you follow their desires after what you have received of knowledge, then you would have against Allah neither any Wali (protector) or helper.
                              and Maidah 51
                              O you who be;lieve! do not take the jews and christians as Awliya, they are Awliya to one another, and whoever takes/follows them he is of them, and Allah does not guide the Dhalimuun.
                              the famous ayah
                              Verily the only deen with Allah is Islam
                              also read 3:118 - this ayat is very to the point.
                              As for freedom and pluralism these ideas do not come from Christianity or Judaism but from capitalism which is also a kufr aqueedah and way of life.
                              This guy calls for no clash of civilisations, telling the muslims to submit to the one sided intellectual, military, economic and political attack the kuffar launch on us muslims and our true deen Al-Islam night and day.
                              My advice watch out for those that call for muslims in the west to integrate into the western secular system, watch out those that call for inter faith, because what they are calling for is kufr and are inviting to Allahs fire.
                              May Allah protect us from that.